The improvements at Redskins Park


(Richard A. Lipski/The Washington Post)

There was one clause in this week’s much-discussed RGIII GQ story that might have been more interesting to people outside the D.C. market than people inside it. In that clause, GQ executive editor Brendan Vaughan describes the Redskins Park weight room as “surprisingly run-down for the third-most-valuable franchise in the NFL.”

This, of course, has been a topic of discussion in town for quite some time. More than a year ago, Rich Campbell wrote that “Redskins Park has fallen behind the times,” and that “one could argue that the Redskins’ 20-year-old facility puts them at a competitive disadvantage.” By the end of the NFL season, though, Larry Michael was disagreeing, saying “there’s nothing WRONG with the current building here at Redskins Park.”

Still, the world moves, and last month, the AP’s Joseph White wrote about how the team was “expanding its training room, weight room and hiring a full-time chef for an expanded kitchen as part of a $30 million makeover at Redskins Park.” That work has been going on while the team has been in Richmond, and Adam Carriker is now here to report on the progress.

The injured Carriker said on his 4th & Pain radio show this week that he happened to be at Redskins Park picking up a package on Sunday, when he bumped into a construction supervisor who offered a tour.

“I’ve been in quite a few NFL facilities,” Carriker reported. (Watch and listen below.) “Before I was drafted, you go around and you travel. This was one of the worst ones I’d seen, comparable to almost a D-III college we went and practiced at and did camp at my second year in St. Louis, up in Wisconsin-Whitewater. It was very similar to that D-III college we went and stayed at. Now, I would have to say it’s probably the nicest facility — at least the things they’ve upgraded — I’ve seen in the entire NFL.”

“Nicest” is definitely preferable to “one of the worst,” in my experience.

Among the highlights:

* A new underwater treadmill, giant cold tub, giant hot tub, and new shower and bathroom for coaches.

* A larger weight room, with more room, “brand-new platforms to do our squats, our cleans, our dead lifts on,” and a softer floor.

* “A lot of redoing [of] the landscaping as well, so it just looks a lot more professional,” Carriker said. “It’s 10 times nicer. You look at the landscaping, kind of irrelevant as far as making us better, but as far as looking professional and looking good, it definitely does.”

* Workers “took out the whole back part of the building, and now it’s just glass from top to bottom,” Carriker said, “so if you’re doing cardio and treadmill, you can look out and see Redskins Park vs. staring at a wall.”

* A host of changes to the kitchen and eating area, including new tables and chairs, a full staff of six chefs and cooks, a juice bar, a protein bar, a pasta bar and a nutritionist.

* A kitchen appliance — he thinks it’s the oven — that has a Redskins logo that is lit up by flames. “I felt like I was looking into the back of one of the most expensive restaurants you would find, and I think it’s going to make a huge difference,” he said.

So yeah. Perhaps future writers will not have to refer to the facility as “surprisingly run-down for the third-most-valuable franchise in the NFL.”

Dan Steinberg writes about all things D.C. sports at the D.C. Sports Bog.

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Dan Steinberg · August 13, 2013

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